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MMR vaccine hits 90% for the first time in 13 years

MMR uptake rising as measles cases this year surpass total number for 2010

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Uptake rates for MMR in children under two reached 90% in the first quarter of this year – the highest level for 13 years, figures from the Health Protection Agency show.

The figure is a 0.6% increase on the previous quarter, and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and six English regions (North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands and South Central) achieved at least 90 per cent coverage.

The proportion of UK children who received their first dose of MMR vaccine by the age of five remained stable at 92.8%. MMR coverage for two doses in children aged five increased by 0.3% between January to March 2011 to 85.1% compared to the previous quarter.

There have been 496 laboratory confirmed cases of measles reported in England and Wales up to the end of May 2011, surpassing the annual 2010 total of 374 cases.

Measles cases have predominately been in children and adults under 19 years of age, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of the immunisation department at the HPA, said: "We're very encouraged to see that UK MMR uptake has reached 90 per cent in children aged two indicating increasing levels of trust by parents in the immunisation programme. We're on the way to reaching our goal of 95 per cent uptake."

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